Galilei, Galileo, The systems of the world, 1661
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There was publiſhed ſome years ſince in Rome a ſalutiferous Edict, that, for
the obviating of the dangerous Scandals of the preſent Age, impoſed a ſea­
ſonable Silence upon the Pythagorean Opinion of the Mobility of the Earth.
There want not ſuch as unadviſedly affirm, that that Decree was not the produ­
ction of a ſober Scrutiny, but of an ill informed Paſsion; & one may hear ſome mut­
ter that Conſultors altogether ignorant of Aſtronomical Obſervations ought not
to clipp the Wings of Speculative Wits with raſh Prohibitions.
My zeale can­
not keep ſilence when I hear theſe inconſiderate complaints.
I thought fit, as being thoroughly ac­
quainted with that prudent Determination, to appear openly upon the Theatre of the World as a Wit­
neſs of the naked Truth.
I was at that time in Rome; and had not only the audiences, but applauds of
the moſt Eminent Prelates of that Court; nor was that Decree Publiſhed without Previous Notice given
me thereof.
Therefore it is my reſolution in the preſent caſe to give Foraign Nations to ſee that this
point is as well under stood in Italy, and particularly in Rome, as Tranſalpine Diligence can imagine
it to be: and collecting together all the proper Speculations that concern the Copernican Syſteme,
to let them know, that the notice of all preceded the Cenſure of the Roman Court; and that there
proceed from this Climate not only Doctrines for the health of the Soul, but alſo ingenious Diſcoveries
for the recreating of the Mind.
We ſhall treat of three principall heads. Firſt I will endeavour to ſhew that all Experiments that can
be made upon the Earth are inſufficient means to conclude it's Mobility, but are indifferently applicable
to the Earth moveable or immoveable: and I hope that on this occaſion we ſhall diſcover many obſer­
vable paſſages unknown to the Ancients.
Secondly we will examine the Cœleſtiall Phœnomena
that make for the Copernican Hypotheſis, as if it were to prove abſolutely victorious; adding by the
way certain new Obſervations, which yet ſerve only for the Aſtronomical Facility, not for Natural
In the third place I will propoſe an ingenuous Fancy. I remember that I have ſaid many
years ſince, that the unknown Probleme of the Tide might receive ſome light, admitting the Earths
This Poſition of mine paſsing from one to another had found charitable Fathers that
adopted it for the Iſſue of their own wit.
Now, becauſe no ſtranger may ever appear that defending him­
ſelf with our armes ſhall charge us with want of caution in ſo principal an Accident, I have thought
good to lay down thoſe probabilities that would render it credible, admitting that the Earth did
I hope, that by theſe Conſider ations the World will come to know, that if other Nations have
Navigated more than we, we have not ſtudied leſs than they; & that our returning to aſſert the Earths
Stability, and to take the contrary only for a Mathematical Capriccio, proceeds not from inadvertency
of what others have thought thereof, but (had we no other inducements) from thoſe Reaſons that Pic­
ty, Religion, the Knowledge of the Divine Omnipotency, and a conſciouſneſs of the incapacity of mans
Vnderſtanding dictate unto us.

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